Blink and you may have missed it. Earlier in the week, the Prime Minister announced a new 'Help to Grow' policy geared towards helping startups take the so-called 'next-step' into becoming the medium-sized enterprises of the future.
The British Business Bank will get £100m to pilot the scheme to try and help build a British 'Mittelstand' based on the German model, where so called medium-sized enterprises form the backbone of the economy. 500 ‘ambitious young firms’ will receive financial support from the BBB through loans and match funding with private investment.
This is not the first time the British political establishment have looked to the Germany for economic inspiration. In 2012, the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband and Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna were extolling the values of the German Sparkassen, the network of local savings banks that look to provide credit to their local businesses as a matter of priority. Their central point, was whilst this type of banking might be boring, it helps oil the pipeline of credit to German SMEs.
In January 2015, Workspace Group hosted the New and Growing Companies (NGC) Forum, to discuss access to finance as a key constraint to further growth for Workspace customers. One of our panelists, and Workspace customer, Emma Joy Obanye, touched on the issue of procuring second round funding for NGCs, looking to take the step from startup to medium-sized enterprise and beyond. Politicians seem to be listening and making attempts to address the issue Emma outlined.
The Prime Minister’s 'Help to Grow' announcement, which will be fleshed out in the Budget on 18 March 2015, is likely to be the first in a long line of policies from the political parties, seeking to address issues around access to finance the businesses that are fuelling the UK’s economic growth. If you’re into predicting what’s going to be in manifestos come April 2015, on business policy, you might want to brush up on your Deutsch. We’ve got the British Mittelstand, British Spakassen and Hilfe Zum Wachsen – we’ll wait to see what’s next.
Oliver is a Senior Account Manager at Snapdragon Consulting, a public affairs company operating out of Kennington Park Business Centre. He previously worked in parliament and likes to think he knows a thing or two about politics, and its impact on the business community. Follow Snapdragon on Twitter @TeamSnapdragon.
Workspace hosted the inaugural NGC Forum, a conference about new and growing companies (NGCs) powering the London economy in the Churchill Room at the Houses of Parliament in January 2015. Find out more here. If you'd like to carry on the conversation then please tweet out to @WorkspaceGroup using the hashtag #NGCForum.